Country Listing

China Table of Contents



In the years following the Third Plenum of the Eleventh Committee Central in 1978, certain key reforms set in motion a process of systemic change in society. Successful continuation of the reform program depended on the ability of China's senior leaders to respond to the constant challenges encountered in implementing these changes. Although a significant portion of the political system underwent major reform, a central question remaining in the late 1980s was whether or not the party could maintain stable central leadership. There was reason to question whether a consensus could be built within China's top leadership circles without the presence of a leader of the stature of Deng Xiaoping. With major bureaucratic interests to contend with and satisfy, and differing ideological orientations within the top leadership, strong central direction seemed to be the basic requirement for continuing reform.

Data as of July 1987